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Egypt ratifies controversial law that restricts NGOs

Egypt ratifies controversial law that restricts NGOs


Egypt on Monday issued a new law that regulates the work of non-governmental organisations, a measure seen by rights groups as the latest sign of a growing crackdown on dissent against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Human rights groups and activists say the law in effect bans their work and makes it harder for charities to operate.

The measure restricts NGO activity to developmental and social work and introduces jail terms of up to five years for non-compliance.

The law gives NGOs one year to comply or face being dissolved by a court.

Parliament passed the bill in November but it had to be ratified by Sisi.

Egyptian rights activists say they face the worst crackdown in their history under Sisi, accusing him of erasing freedoms won in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

The government had been working for years on a new law regulating NGOs, which rights groups feared would be more restrictive than Mubarak-era rules, but the bill drafted by lawmakers was so restrictive that even cabinet ministers objected.

Lawmakers say the measure is necessary to protect national security. The government has long accused human rights groups of taking foreign funds to sow chaos and several are facing investigation over their funding.


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